You’ve no doubt heard the Woody Allen quote, “80% of life is just showing up”. When it comes to trade shows, nothing could be further from the truth.
We’ve all seen the quiet little trade show booths with a person or two sitting behind a table, checking their iPhones and passively watching the sea of attendees walk by. Then, they return from a show and are convinced that trade shows just don’t work for them.
Unfortunately that scenario is all too common, and it highlights the need to BE ACTIVE with every aspect of your trade show marketing.
Bold Booth – Make your booth stand out from those around you with vibrant graphics, a clear message and handouts that your prospects can take with them as a reminder of your message and brand when they get back to the office.
Engaging Staff – Bring staff that is both knowledgeable about the product and personable. It’s also important that all staff is on-point and conveying a unified message. You also want your staff to stand out from those visiting the show. Whether it be with business suits or wearing the same color of shirt, make sure they look like a professional team displaying your company logo.
Advance Planning – Create a strong plan that defines your message and how you’ll deliver it. Reach out to both potential and existing customers. Don’t forget to set an objective, and how you’ll measure whether those objectives were met. Measure not just short term, but long term, since often leads from a trade show can take months to develop into sales.
Communicate Early – Pre-show marketing is one of the best and most overlooked ways to get your target audience to visit you at the show. Identify valuable potential customers and make sure to include existing customers as you invite them to visit you with pre-show direct mail, emails and phone calls.
Takeaways and Demonstrations – Samples of products, especially food, are always a draw, but don’t forget to engage those taking samples about the benefits of your product. For equipment, show-goers say overwhelmingly that getting to see the machinery in action goes a long way toward getting a sale. Make sure you’re presenting products and explaining why they’re relevant for your potential customers.
Inviting Presentation – Make your space welcoming with no tables between you and your show attendees to create an open floor plan. If tables are needed, make sure they’re angled to encourage visitors to come in and meet your staff.
Value – Convey the value of visiting your booth to potential customers. Some great options to highlight in your pre-show push include: new products, the chance to meet or talk with someone that can help them, or a gift to pick up at the show.
Exit Strategy – Have your follow-up plan devised before the show even starts. Great options include a prompt phone call, email, direct mail, or any combination of post event communications. After all, you don’t want all of your sales efforts to be lost because of a lack of follow-up.
Every trade show is different. Your goals will change from show to show. But, if your company can BE ACTIVE in your marketing efforts, you’ll reap the benefits of your trade show investment.